Irrigating from a cistern

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Dripit good, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. Dripit good

    Dripit good LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,081

    Does anyone here have any experience irrigating from a cistern set up?

    One of our property managers' wants to "go green" and is requesting a cistern to irrigate from. It's not a small system, 23 zones w/2" feed. Without auditing it, I'll estimate 40gpm, mostly rotor zones for turf. For a basic 20 minute cycle the demand will be 18,400 gallons. At 4x a week it will be 73,600 gallons.

    I have already learned that to meet the criteria set for Leeds certification an irrigation cistern cannot be supplemented with potable water, or you must show at least a 50% reduction in water usage.

    Even three 10,000 gal reservoirs won't be enough to handle two cycles! If it could be replenished quick enough, that just means we are already receiving sufficient rain totals, so I think it's improbable (if not impossible) to make sense in this case.

    I have heard of success on a smaller scale, homes that utilize the gray water along with rain, but I think these are only out west though. I have no experience with cisterns and don't want to try to invent the wheel, but I would think they are out there somewhere.

    I don't think the kind that you will see in Mexico will meet our codes. :laugh:
  2. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,603

    I've done a couple, they've worked well for the residental properties I have them on. However you're talking a MASSIVE amount of storange here. I've seen in irrigation mag (whatever the name is) a system that was built for a soccer field but they pretty much put tanks under the entire field. It can be done though, especially if you have room for the tanks, or an a backup source. but still I think its worth it in the long run, depending what you're client is currently paying. if you were able to save him 10k gal a week that's 10k gals off his bill and also the benefit to market you're property as "green"
  3. JoeinJasper

    JoeinJasper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 173

    I have a customer with a 5000 gal cistern, during last year's drought they were hauling in water by the truck load. No rain = no water. We eventually were able to hook up a poor well (about 1 gal a minute) and pump a small amount continously over a 24 hr day, and store it in the cistern for later use. Joe
  4. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    If you have the available real-estate, then you may want to think about a pond / man made lake system. Parking lot run off and down spouts get directed to pond / reservoir and excavated material is used to raise land and slope toward pond. Excess excavated material can sometimes be sold to a local contractor or at very least excavation and trucking can sometimes be recovered or cost reduced. Again this is IF you have the real-estate. If your climate has snow, the snow contractor plows the snow to the reservoir. This is a big project but if your client is truly wanting to GO GREEN then the added wildlife area (ducks and geese ) is an additional Green selling point.
  5. Dripit good

    Dripit good LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,081

  6. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,603

    got them from a tank company in KY, can't remember the name. JDL had no clue, I'm surprised really. Down here we just drain the pump if its above ground if a sub. we don't because the tanks/water stay warm due to our soil temps don't get real cold. Not sure about Michigan though.
  7. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,148

    Botttom line is you've got to have some kind of supplemental water to feed the cistern.
  8. Tom Tom

    Tom Tom LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,281

    exactly. in his case, i think he needs one of the great lakes
  9. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,148

    Yup, we took over management of a cistern system years ago, worked great
    until the client told me about his water bill. Huh? Did some digging & found
    they'd tied the potable into the cistern & we were using the cistern AND potable. Pulled the clock & installed a clock that we could put a delay between
    zones to provide for recharge from ground water. No more water bill.

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